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Ever since the beginning, humankind has wondered what awaits us after death. It is a fascination that has puzzled scientists, a fascination that has caused many different theories to arise. Each religion has its own view on what will happen to us—whether we have a soul that will go to heaven, are made of only energy that will return to the earth, or even just disappear from existence.
One such fairly popular theory is that of reincarnation. It is a belief held by Hindus, Buddhists, New Agers, and a couple others who, as Cowan and Spiegel describe it, “believe that when a person dies, her soul or karmic energy transmigrates to another newborn human being or perhaps even an animal” (pg. 248). Some Hindus go so far even as to avoid eating cows because they believe that their ancestors come back as cows.
One form of the belief of reincarnation or another is believed to have been around for thousands of years. The ancient Celts had the belief that the spirit would move on to another life to the point where some warriors were not afraid of death, and money was lent with the premises that they would return it in a later life (Reader’s Digest, 42).
The poet Virgil also believed in the practice in his lifetime expanding from around 70-19 B.C., believing that children born with physical impairments were given them because of something they did in a past life.
Now, there are various different forms of the belief of reincarnation. For the Akan—people of West Africa—reincarnation is not something that happens to everyone, creating a branch of the belief called selective reincarnation. As its name suggests, selective reincarnation is something that is granted to “otherwise deserving humans who have failed to fulfill their potential for achi...

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...n extreme form of dualism” (Paul Edwards, 14), a view that many Christians take.

Works Cited

Bevers, Sabine. “10 Interesting Cases of Supposed Reincarnation.” Listverse. October 21, 2013. Web. June 14, 2014.
Burpo, Todd. Heaven is for Real. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010. Print.
Cowan, Stephen B. and James S. Spiegel. The Love of Wisdom. Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2009. Print.
Edwards, Paul. Reincarnation: A Critical Examination. Amherst: Prometheus Books, 1996. Print.
Goodman, Charles. “Ethics in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 22 June, 2010. Online.
Holy Bible, The. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 2010. Kindle.
Reader’s Digest. Life Beyond Death. Pleasantville: The Reader’s Digest Association, INC., 1992. Print.
Wingo, Ajume. “Akan Philosophy of the Person.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 27 December, 2006. Online.

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